If you are like me, your blog posts take some time to write. Sometimes lots of time.
And if you fight The Princess Syndrome, they can take even longer.
I’ll toss a topic around, let it marinate. Even start a post and abandon it because I’m not feeling particularly passionate about it.
So by the time I’m finished, I want to be finished.
I want to knock it out of my brain so those guys Stephen King calls The Boys in the Basement can come back. You know, the ones with more bright, shiny ideas?
But wait. Now I have to think about a photo?
Why photos engage your readers
Because words alone are boring.
Your visitor needs a reason to read your post. If she sees too many words squeezed together, all bunched up, like they’re in a hot room and can’t breathe, well, she’ll feel the same way.
Because, let’s face it, we’re all attention-disordered.
The right photo will pull us by the shoulders and make us stop long enough to read the post.
Because at least 60 percent of your readers are visual learners.
Cave men knew it. A picture just makes us sit up. Makes us remember a story. And the research on how we learn shows that 60 percent of us are more engaged by the visual. We actually take in and retain information better when we see it (as opposed to just hearing it).
Because photos work beautifully with analogies and metaphors.
The photo is the powerful partner of metaphor. Something is like something else and here, this photo helps you see that.
Because a photo will pull your readers into the post.
We are all curious creatures. We are hard-wired to want to know why. Photos can make your reader wonder, “Why is this here?” And she’ll have to read your post to find out.
Because photos evoke emotions and give your business a personality.
Photos set the tone. Love. Fear. Laugh-out-loud funny. On my own blog, I don’t take myself too seriously and my photos reflect that.
5 ways the right photo can get you more blog readers
The right photo can increase reader engagement and blog post views by:
1. Conveying the overall feeling or emotion of your post.
I wrote a post recently on why negative headlines work. I was going for hate or anger with my image. The photo: A crazy-looking rock star guy sticking his tongue out.
negative blog post headlines
2. Illustrating a metaphor or analogy that is part of your main idea.
I wanted a way to explain why we gave up our baby, our 10-month-old Internet marketing business and went back to a sole focus on our 16-year-old graphic design and copywriting firm.
I was looking for a way to show how needy and contentious the baby was and how jealous our 16-year-old was because she had lost our love and attention. The photo: A very cute baby staring out from the page, focused, looking like he wants all your attention.
3. Evoking surprise or curiosity.
I wrote a post on my marketing blog about finding your niche. In it, I talked about whether “nichifying” your business too much might leave you with too few prospects and clients.
I gave the example of Swedish cowboys who collect Star Wars memorabilia as perhaps too limiting a niche. The photo: A Marlboro Man-type cowboy with his horse.
4. Complementing your headline.
This is a good way to engage your reader. But don’t look for a photo that, in a boring way, is exactly what your headline is saying, I mean, literally.
In one post in a series on marketing with enewsletters, the one on building your list organically by getting permission to send your letter out first, the photo was a little boy in a classroom holding up his hand, waiting to be called on by the teacher.
5. Simply making your reader smile.
Okay, I’ll admit. Some photos I choose just because of the smile factor. I wrote a post called, The Crazy Cat Edition: Does the Real You Show Up Online? It started with the story of my cat, who is a ventriloquist. He imitates the sounds of lots of different animals and I never know which cat is showing up until he starts talking.
And that introduced my post on the importance of showing up online with a consistent and unique voice. The photo: the craziest-looking cat I could find.
What about you?
Do you use photos in your posts?
Do you enjoy reading blog posts with appealing photos more?
What kinds are you attracted to?
Any tips to share?